Feeding hungry sheep so nearly had us all beet; THE YORKSHIRE SHEPHERDESS.
Byline: Amanda Owen Raising 8 children... and 700 sheep
The recent bout of unseasonably wintery weather has meant that everything is hungry.
From dawn to dusk is spent feeding things - children, chickens, pigs, cows and the sheep.
With no sign of any Spring grass - and the hay barn supplies rapidly diminishing - we decided to buy in some fodder beet.
It's a large turnip-like root vegetable that sheep supposedly find irresistible and, with lots of hungry mouths to feed, we decided that 20 tonnes of it would do to start with.
The lorry had hardly turned around before the children were loading a trailer ready to take them out into the fields.
The sound of us approaching brought the sheep running. Driving slowly on the bike, we threw the beets out of the trailer in a long line.
The sheep were not impressed and galloped after the trailer all the way back to the field gate.
We inspected them the next morning but they remained in a line untouched.
We concluded that perhaps the beets needed to be chopped to let the ewes get a sniff of the tasty sweet innards.
Clive went to the local garage to look at a tractor mounted turnip chopper that would make the job easy but baulked at the price of the contraption and came home with the next best thing - a sharp spade.
Our eldest child, Raven, informs me that you can eat them. But even for a family of our size, that is a lot of fodder beet to wade through.
On one particularly unpleasant evening when the rain was lashing down, one of our ewes wandered up the farmyard.
Taking pity upon her and her twin lambs, I decided to let her stay overnight in the stable.
The next morning when I peeped over the door, she was sitting contentedly chewing her cud with one of the lambs at her side - whilst the other one lay dead with its head stuck in a hurdle gate.
Sometimes you feel that you just can't win, but that's the nature of farming - you win some, you lose some, but you are always striving to do your best.
NURSERY Fireside cuddle for lamb